By Aaron Goodwin
Construction of a new $3.6m bus facility at Sugarland Plaza, to replace the one located in the Sugarland Plaza car park, is expected to start in April 2022.
The new sheltered bus stop will be located next door to the McDonald’s carpark and will include a new platform, modern seating, new traffic signals at the Takalvan Street and Sugarland Plaza access intersection and the construction of a dedicated bike lane.
The Queensland Government has allocated $3.665 million in Passenger Transport Infrastructure funding for this upgrade.
Stewart & Sons general manager Julie Stewart said the new facility will make catching a bus more appealing.
”This will mean continuity for our drivers being able to pull in, drop their passengers off safely and will save time when taking back off into the city,” Ms Stewart said.
”As you go into the back of Sugarland, there’s cars that prevent the drivers from moving and some little accidents along the way
”It’s great the borders are going to be open eventually and tourists coming back into town, they can see the new bus stop on Takalvan Street
”That will make it easier for everyone to say, ‘hey I can grab a bus’.
”Next year with the SmartCard coming into Bundaberg, which is a great initiative for Bundaberg as well but this is just amazing.
”Anything for transport I will fly the flag for that and the people of Bundaberg.”
Property owners and businesses near the new bus facility will be notified of works before they start.
Bundaberg MP Tom Smith said passengers catching the bus to and from Sugarland, will be able to jump on and off safer.
”It also means a safer carpark for those visiting the shopping centre,” Mr Smith said.
”Right now the buses need to drive through the shopping centre carpark, all the way out to back and that can cause some traffic congestion in the carpark and potential accidents.
”We know Takalvan Street is one of the busiest roads in Bundaberg, it links up with the Isis Highway, it links up with Bourbong Street into the CBD.
”This is something people talk to me quite a bit about.
”They know the bus drivers are doing their job, driving safely but you know how shopping centres can b.e
”We know people who have gone to turn in or maybe do a U-turn along Taklavan Street, or to go into the shopping centre, there have been near misses.
”The current bus stop is all the way out the back of the shopping centre and a lot of people don’t even know about it.”
Ms Stewart believes there will be more new bus stops and facilities in Bundaberg’s future.
”Queensland Transport work very hard, as do Bundaberg Regional Council together and with us operators, to make a better service for the passengers,” Ms Stewart said.
”We wait for a long time, sometimes things take years to fruition but when it comes we get excited.
”Anything we can do to change our route, to work with Queensland Transport and Bundaberg Regional Council, we try to do it.”
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said relocating the bus facility from the shopping centre carpark to Takalvan Street, will improve the efficiency of bus operations.
“This is yet another important step towards a more connected, safe and efficient transport system for all users,” Mr Bailey said.
“Passenger experience will be enhanced by new amenities – including a new platform, modern seating and sheltered waiting areas – to deliver improved accessibility, comfort and safety for all users.
“The project will also improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and bike riders with new traffic signals at the Takalvan Street and Sugarland Plaza access intersection and the construction of a dedicated bike lane.”